On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello. This is the fourth year these two organizations have teamed up to honor a selection of the most innovative farmers from the Florida Panhandle.
The purpose of the Agriculture Innovator Recognition Program is to annually recognize innovative farmers and ranchers from 16 Florida Panhandle counties, from Jefferson west to Escambia County. In 2014, County Agriculture Extension Agents selected 12 Agricultural Innovators to be recognized.
All of the honorees have distinguished themselves as creative thinkers and leaders in the agricultural community. From this group of elite farmers that were honored by their home county, one is selected annually to represent Northwest Florida. This year Tony Strickland was selected as the Wakulla County Agriculture Innovator. Tony Strickland was nominated by Les Harrison, Wakulla County Extension. Read more about Strickland AI Services below. The other Agricultural Innovators nominated this year, that were recognized on the Panhandle Ag e-News in previous weeks, can be accessed through the links at the end of this article.
Submitted by Les Harrison, Wakulla County Extension
Tony Strickland’s innovation is a broad knowledge of cattle expertise and an array of breeding services which are based on his experience of over five decades in cattle health and reproduction services, and which are offered to professional livestock herdsmen and novice owners. Strickland is originally from this area and his family has farmed in the Big Bend region for at least four generations before him. He is able to recall a time when cattle and dairy operations were a common feature of the local landscape. Consolidation within the industry, increasing real estate prices and producers who had no family members to whom the farm could be passed along eliminated many of these operations. The decline in livestock numbers also eliminated the support services on which cattlemen depended.
After a career spent in central Florida’s livestock industry, Tony and wife Jane Ellen returned to the Big Bend area and observed the lack of services available to stock owners. Tony’s skills were soon recognized, and his abilities and willingness to serve others quickly gained him a reputation for quality service.
From his farm in Crawfordville, Tony services accounts and advises stockmen on a variety of reproductive issue. He is widely known for quality workmanship, and a considerate and caring disposition, even for the beginning stock owner.
Tony Strickland has been a tireless supporter of Extension education since before returning his family to Wakulla County. He has used and promoted Extension livestock reproductive research, and all other phases of cattle husbandry and production for decades. He serves as an advisor and source of information to the last three Wakulla County Extension Agriculture Agents.
Tony’s impact and effect has occurred one animal at a time. It happens through his accurate information, professional demeanor and the willingness to serve his fellow stock owners. His influence is multiplied each time cattlemen, large or small, see his services and advice. His work has influenced hundreds of cattlemen and assured the existence of thousands of animals.
You might also be interested in the stories of other Agricultural Innovators highlighted in previous weeks: